Friday, March 28, 2014

High Five for Friday (Vol. 24)

Hey!  High five!  It's Friday!!!  It was a good week on my end, though the blog reflects none of that!  Here's my chance to fix it! 


1. Saturday walking tour of NYC.  My friend/co-worker took me to all the "tourist traps" and we walked over 20000 steps!!!  I promise to give a full recap of the trip next week.  It was quite the adventure and I loved it!


2. Bayonne's St. Patrick's Day parade and poker- what better combination is there?  We had green beer at 11 am, stayed long enough to see my niece with her cheer leading squad, then headed over to the free poker tournaments at Winners.  I won 2!  What, what!!!

3. Spades!  Have you ever played Spades?  I had no idea how much fun it could be.  On Tuesday night we had pizza and played spades with our best friends.  To make it even better, the girls won!  Girls rule, boys drool!

4.  Wednesday I had my weekly babysitting date with my favorite munchkin.  He wasn't feeling well, which was sad, but he was super cuddly.  We laid on the couch and watched baby tv til he got comfy enough to sleep.  How could you not love a little angel, like this?!


5.  Phone chats!  I usually don't like talking on the phone but I had a 30 minute plus phone call with my best friend this morning on the ride in to work.  I love our random chats, and we don't get them often so even though the conversation was a little sad it was completely enjoyable.

How was your week?
Hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Linking up with a bunch of amazing bloggers, please check them out as well!
and

Friday, March 21, 2014

High Five for Friday (Vol. 23)



Welcome back to the weekly run down of the top 5 things to happen this week.  Can I just say that, I loooooove me some Friday's!  Next to Saturday, it really is the best day of the week!

My week started out with a bang, a birthday bang!  For some reason a lot of people I love were born in March.  My best friend is the 8th, my sister in law is the 15th, father in law is the 16th, and my cousin (in law) is the 19th.  Needless to say, I sang happy birthday A LOT this week!  But it was more than just birthday's that made me happy this week, let's get started.

1. As I mentioned earlier this week, Saturday was my best friends birthday party!  This amazing lady turned 30 last week but we celebrated this week with a "surprise" party.  She knew family was coming over and friends just happened to show up, good job to her hubby on that one!  Not only do I just love being around these people and celebrating Lia in general, but I loved that her party was full of friends, family, and children.  We drank but we were no where near "wasted" and we ended the night with a game of Rummy 300, because we were too tired to make it to 500.  When I was 21 I probably would have thought this was lame, but right now I can't imagine a better party.  The best part was sitting on the couch with the girls, sipping on 50 shades of grey wine, and just reminiscing.  These are the moments that you look back on and cherish.  Here's a pic of me, Lauren, Lia (the birthday girl,) and Sam- can I just say that I left the house thinking that I rocked my look?  Little did I know that all of my makeup had worn off and that my hair is in desperate need of a cut!  Oh well...

 
2. Sunday was another day of birthday celebrations, this time for the in laws.  We went to Longhorn Steakhouse where I had the most incredible steak I've had in years!  It was their flat iron with a portabella mushroom, cooked medium.  It was juicy and flavorful, with a little kick in the sauce.  I will be having that again, someday.
 
3. Monday I was sick as a dog.  To be honest, I had been fighting something since Thursday but I had a big weekend ahead of me, I had to work through it.  When I woke up with no voice though, I knew I had to give in and take it easy, oh yea, and stay home from work :-(.  I texted out because I literally had no voice, spent the morning in bed, and the afternoon on the couch, watching the entire last season of White Collar.  Matt Bomer can help anyone get over a cold.
 
4. Back to the birthday theme!  My cousin, Lauren, turned 25 on Wednesday.  I can't help feeling old as I remember meeting her when she was just a freshman in high school (she's an in law) and now she's a teacher!  The family is really big on cards and I couldn't find one that I liked, so I went old school and made it for her.  I mentioned how I can't help wondering where's the sweet, innocent little girl that I used to know?  Then I realized she's blossomed into a beautiful, sweet, intelligent, driven woman that I can not be more proud of, and I love so much.  She really is incredible and celebrating her birthday was a great way to round out the birthday bananza that happened this week!  (Can you tell that her favorite Disney princess is Ariel?)
 
 
5. Thursday night.  I had promised myself that I was going to have a pasta dinner and watch Catching Fire, but Jim ended up being out all night with his dad.  So instead of what I had planned, I went to Taco Bell, because that's my go to for when he's not around since he refuses to eat it, took my food home and watched 2 random movies on Netflix (Butter and Best Man Down.)  They weren't great movies, but I choose them and now I can say that I watched them, and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed doing this by myself.  I had no idea how much I enjoy being alone until recently, I'm sure I'll get over it soon, but for now I plan to revel in it and use it to help me get through the next few weeks.
 
It was a very busy week, just the way I like it!  This week is already looking to be another busy week with a happy hour and trip to the city planned for this weekend and the packing up and moving that will commence next week, I promise I will do a post on what exactly all this means since I realize I never actually mentioned what happened here but clearly something is happening.  For now please just pray for me to have the strength to make it through and stand my ground! 
 
Hope you had a fantastic week and have an even better weekend!
 
As always I'm linking up with some pretty amazing bloggers!
and
I'm sorry for not using your buttons, but they rarely work on my posts!
 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Day of Happiness

Do you know what today is?  It's....



I hope you're all having a wonderful day and finding ways to focus on happiness more than anything else.  I've made a few choices differently today to make myself happier.

1. When I woke up this morning, I didn't hit snooze.  Instead, I laid in bed, grabbed the book I had been reading since Monday, and finished it.  I was really wanting to know what happened to the main character and decided the 30 minutes in bed, reading was better spent then trying to put on makeup and surfing facebook.  (This also meant that I ignored the dirty dishes that have taken over my kitchen.  I haven't been home to cook since Monday, so they've been sitting since Monday and Jim keeps promising to do them.  Instead of stressing, I'm leaving them, he'll get to them when he gets to them, otherwise we won't have clean dishes to make dinner tonight and I don't really care.  Why stress about what we can't change?)

2.  I took a different route to work.  There was a major accident on 78 this morning and luckily I saw it before having to sit in grid lock for God knows how long.  Take in alternate route got me to work even earlier and way less stressed than I usually arrive.  I may be taking this way again tomorrow.

3. Since I was earlier, I had to time to get a cup of coffee and really get comfortable at my desk before having to log into the phones and start checking emails.  Ever since I was a kid, I've had trouble with rushing into my day.  In the morning, I need peace and quiet, and calm, otherwise I set myself up to be frazzled by noon.  Finally, today, I got that.

4.  I'm treating myself to lunch. I generally work through lunch or go out just long enough to grab something.  Today, I'm logging out for the whole 60 minutes, I don't know what I'll do or where I'll go, but I can tell you I certainly won't be working, and that's what most important.

5.  I've already decided we're having pasta with pepperoni sauce for dinner.  Jim doesn't really care for it, but it's one of my favorite things to eat and cook (it really couldn't be much easier to prepare) so that's what we're having.  I usually cook what he wants, but I'm being selfish and making today about my happiness, his happiness was sitting at home watching TV all day.  It's my turn.

6.  And finally, tonight I've decided I'm not watching anything else until we finally watch Catching Fire.  I've wanted to see it since it premiered in November, I read all the books in a week back in early 2013, it's time.  I refuse to wait any longer and getting to see it will be the perfect happy ending to my happy day. 

I realize a lot of my happy moments are incredibly selfish but sometimes you need to think about yourself before you think of others.  I'm generally the last person on my list of concerns, and it gets exhausting, today I will be happy because of me, myself, and I, and no one else.

What are you doing to be happy today?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

There's Gotta be Something More!

This weekend was my best friends 30th birthday party.  As I was getting ready, I started thinking about how she was so worried to turn 30 and I thought what does she have to worry about?  She's doing great for 30!  Think about the "typical" accomplishments we're all "expected" to check off our to-do lists...

graduate college
get a job/start a career
fall in love/get married
start a family
buy a house

Every single one she's accomplished!  Go her!  But then that leaves the question- what's next?  What else are we supposed to do with our lives?

From a gaming perspective she's hit every goal she set out to hit, so did she win?  Is it game over?  It can't be game over!  She's only 30!  She still has at least another 40 years on this planet!


So what else are we supposed to do with our lives?  How do we fill them, make them memorable, make them count?  There's gotta be something more!  But what is it? 

Travel?  Great but you need money for that, which means she has to work.  Plus she has a 13 month old, not exactly the easiest of travel companions.  So it's not the easiest of tasks.  If it's not easy, should she not do it?

Charity/Donations?  There's only so much time in the day and while this is a very respectable goal, should she give up time with her husband and son so that she could help others? (I'm cringing as I write this because I know how selfish and awful it sounds, but really it's hard to choose between being with your family and helping others!)

Raise your kids to be respectable human beings.  Well that's just a given!  Once your a parent this becomes a huge part of your life, but at the risk of again sounding unbelievably selfish, this is to help someone else's life.  What about something for you?
What else is there?  I'm honestly stumped!  I can't think of anything else but there's gotta be something more!  What else can we do with our lives to leave our mark to make them better to feel fulfilled? 

Furthermore, what about people like me?  Lets see what I've accomplished on the above list.

graduate college
get a job/start a career
fall in love/get married but does it count since I want a divorce?
start a family (does my miscarriage count?)
buy a home (LOL)

So am I a failure?  Should I be doing something else?  Why do we all, or at least most of us, feel like we have to accomplish the same goals?  It's almost like the saying, "ones man's trash is another man's treasure."  What's good for you may not be good for me?  But how do we decide?

When I was 17, I through a fit because I had to not only choose a college to go to but also a major.  How am I supposed to choose what I want to do with the rest of my life if' I'm only 17 and I've never really lived?  Suck it up and do it, is basically the answer I was given.  So I went to college, and transferred the next year.  I did finish my degree in history but never received my teaching certification and still don't know what I actually want my career to be! (I blame part of my indecision on the fact that I always saw myself becoming a wife and SAHM, I went to college because I was told I had to but I never really thought I'd need a career.)

I realize this is ALL over the place and I need to reel it in a bit.  So what's my point?  My point is, why is it that even when we accomplish everything we set out to we still feel as hallow and meaningless as we do if we fall short of almost every goal we set out to accomplish?  Why is it that even when in the moment we feel like we're really living, when we look back it feels like we haven't done anything?

We need to redefine how we view our lives, what we see as a success.  It's just wrong that a 30 year old woman, who has done so much in such little time can possibly feel like there is nothing else to do.  Our lives aren't over, they're just beginning, every day should be a new adventure, big or small, but we just can't see it.  I'm worried that if we focus on this too much we'll end up letting out lives fly by and never really do anything. 

How do we change this?
How do we make it better?
What else is there that we're missing?

I have absolutely no idea!  But I'm on a mission to find out, and I'd love to hear what you have to say about it. 

What do you find to be fulfilling in your life?
Do you feel like there is something missing?
What have you done to fill that void?


Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Liebster Award

 
Yesterday, I received a very exciting email from a new blogger and friend, Nicole, at Life with NO naps. She has nominated me for the Liebster Award!
 
 
 
The award has three parts:
  1. Answer the interview questions from the nominator.
  2. List 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Nominate other blogs that are just getting started. 
Here is my interview: 
  1. How long have you been blogging and why did you start? Almost a year.  I started because I felt like I had a lot to say and no way to say but it's evolved into a journal about infertility and relationship struggles.  Plus it's a great outlet for expressing some creativity through recipes and pinterest attempts. 
  2. What is your favorite thing to write about?  happy things that are going on in my life as well as any crafts/recipes that I've tried with success
  3. Do you have an absolute favorite blog, please share. my go to blog is The Small Things Blog.  I love her hair and makeup tutorials and I really enjoy reading about her growing family.
  4. What is one piece of advice you would share with a brand new blogger? Have a purpose and keep your focus, don't be all over the place (like me!)
  5. What is your go to quote? I don't really have a "go to quote" but my favorite quote (which I guess is the same thing) is "the things you take for granted, someone else is praying for."
  6. Where is your favorite place to be? with people I love
  7. What is your favorite dessert recipe? betty crockers peanut butter cookies from my mom's recipe book that was probably published in the 70's.  When I make it, I add almost an extra cup of peanut butter as well as a bag of chocolate chips.  My friends go crazy for them because they're so fluffy and flavorful.    Plus who doesn't like chocolate and peanut butter??
  8. If you could be anything in the world, what would it be? My problem is that I can never choose just want thing, I want to be everything! But honestly, I think ultimately I'd love to be a stewardess.  I know it's not an easy job but getting paid to see the world would have some added bonuses.
  9. Everyone has a "I wish I knew that then" moment, what is yours? I wish I knew how strong I could be and how much more I deserve when I was a teenager, sadly this is something I'm just starting to learn now.
  10. Who is your idol? My Nonnie (maternal grandmother) She's pretty much kick ass at everything she does, she's a spit fire, she's strong, she's successful.  If I could be half the woman she is, I'd be a lucky lady.
  11. If you only eat one food item the rest of your life what would it be? Chinese egg rolls!

11 Random facts about me:
  • My whole life I've struggled with my weight.
  • Even though I've been driving for nearly 15 years, sometimes when I'm in the car by myself on a "long trip" (pa to nj or nj to ct) I still get this rush of excitement that I'm actually old enough to be driving a car and on my own. 
  • I love the color of my hair and vowed never to color it, but my sister in law always wanted to play so I told her when I got my first grey hair, I'd let her color it.  She did a good job, but for me life is not more fun as a blond.  So this November I finally died it back to it's basic brown color and haven't felt happier or more like me ever since. 
  • I love to eat!  I'll eat almost anything that's put in front of me, I just want to experience it.
  • I cry all the time!
  • I take a lot of pictures, pretty much constantly, especially at parties/events/etc.... I have an awful memory and I find that having the pictures helps me remember what happened.
  • I was born in Connecticut at Yale.  My dad was supposed to go to Yale but couldn't afford it, so he always wished that I would go and said that because I was born there I should get free tuition.  Sorry dad!
  • I'm 30, almost 31, but I still feel like a kid around adults (even people only a year older than me) and still have no idea what I actually want to do with me life.  I blame this on the fact that all I've ever wanted to do is be a wife and mother, but that doesn't always work out the way we envision it.
  • I gave up soda for Lent.  I give up soda for Lent every year, in hopes that I'll give it up once and for all.  This year has been the easiest year yet, but I find it hard to have a drink at parties since I generally mix soda with liquor.  Thank God for wine!
  • I have horrible hearing and I blame my loudness on that.  I honestly can't hear how loud I am, and generally don't realize that I'm being disturbing until someone points it out to me. 
  • I'm addicted to all things internet related.  When I wake up the first thing I do is check facebook and instagram, then words with friends.  While I'm at work I'm on blogs and pinterest constantly.  I actually wish this wasn't the case because I miss when times were simpler.  I especially miss talking to someone face to face while hanging out instead of starring at a screen the whole time.  I really need to work on my self control and being more present, in the moment. 
My Nominees:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Here are the rules:  
  1. Thank the blog that presented you this award and link back to their blog (done!)
  2. Answer the questions asked by your nominator, give 11 random facts about yourself. List 11 questions for your nominees. (done!)
  3. Nominate several blogs that you feel need the recognition that have fewer than 1000 followers. Contact the blogger to let them know they have been selected by email, commenting on a post, Facebook, etc. (done!)
  4. Upload the Liebster Award image to your blog. (done!)
Question for my nominees:
  1. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
  2. What is your favorite thing to write about?
  3. What is your favorite blog?
  4. What is one piece of advice you would share with a brand new blogger?
  5. Do you have any blogger inspirations?  (Blogs you'd like to model yourself after or follow in their footsteps)
  6. What is your favorite memory?
  7. If you could go anywhere, where would you go?
  8. What is your favorite app/website?
  9. If you could be anything, what would it be?
  10. What's one life lesson you'd like to share?
  11. What are some of your guilty pleasures?
Congratulations to all of the nominees!  I hope this helps us all to grow and flourish! 

Weekend Block Party Blog Linkup

Saturday, March 15, 2014

the ABC's of me!

I haven't done one of these surveys since the good ol' days of Myspace (I think) BUT I saw a fellow blogger do this earlier this week and had to jump on the bandwagon. 

Age- 30 (cringe)
Birthday- June 6
Color- Blue
Drink- Toasted almond (Kahlua, Amaretto, and Milk)
Eyes- Blue
Flashback- Every time I hear a Hootie and the Blowfish song I'm instantly taken back to summer 1993 when I got my first CD player and played out their album while laying in the sun
Gent- Jim... not for long
Hobby- crafting, TV, blogging
Indulgence- mani/pedis
Job- Logistics Specialist
Kids- none :-(
Love- trying new things and meeting new people
Music- Country, Pop/Rock, Christian
Nation- the good ol US of A
Overstock- plastic grocery bags, I can't throw them away!
Pets- none, but I would LOVE to get a dog!
Quote:

Residence:  Dirty Jerz soon on my way to PA
Sibling- none
Temperature: currently 52, preferred sunny and 70
University- Rutgers University!  Scarlet Knights
Vehicle- 2005 Chevy Malibu Maxx
Want- to get away for a while
X- a Roman Numeral?  I'm not really sure what to put here.
Yuck- Brussel sprouts
Zodiac- Gemini, I'm definitely a full on Gemini!

Friday, March 14, 2014

High 5 for Friday (Vol. 22)

Welcome back!  If you're here, it probably means it's Friday.  The week is over, the weekend is beginning.  Hallelujah!  It was a fairly slow week but there is still high 5-ing to be done!

1. This weekend the weather was gorgeous!  Even though I was working at Rutgers for the Wall Street Journal I wanted to be outside so badly.  When my boss turned to me and said "how about we pack up early and I treat you to lunch?" I couldn't believe it.  When he insisted saying, "it's too nice to be inside, I just want to be outside, come one let's go."  I wasn't going to refuse.  It felt so good to be back on campus and out in the sun!  I love early spring, the sun is shining, you only have to wear a sweater or a light jacket, I'm not a big beach person so for me there really isn't better weather than what we had on the east coast on Saturday!

2. Going along with #1, my boss wanted to try out the famous Rutgers Fat Sandwiches.  So I took him to one of our old stomping grounds, PJs.  I couldn't believe that the owner still recognized me!  I love going back to somewhere that was important to you and finding that you were important (even if just minutely) to it too.  Now I know that many of my fellow alumni would say that it's sacrilege to bring a Fat Sandwich virgin to a pizzeria instead of the Grease Trucks, but I trust this place, I know the workers, and I knew we wouldn't get sick, so I had to go there, please forgive me.  Feast your eyes on the heart attack in a bun that I got to devour

That's a Fat Darren- cheese steak, French fries, and mozzarella sticks on a sub!

3.  Once Upon a Time FINALLY came back on!  I'm sorry, I know I watch too much TV, but I love this show and I've waited nearly 3 months for it to come back on, it was about damn time that they got new episodes on.

4. Jim's dad took us out for dinner on Wednesday night.  I had never eaten at Mona Lisa's but it was delicious, the prices were fair, and the service was excellent.  If you're in the area and looking for good Italian food, do yourself a favor and check it out.

5.  Birthday's in Client Services are possibly the best part of being in CS.  This week we celebrated our oldest coworker, but youngest at heart, and her request was for an ice cream cake.  So of course they had to get her a Fudgie the Whale from Carvel!  I forgot how tasty those things are and I immediately felt 7 years old again, so much fun!

So there you have it!  The 5 happiest parts of my week.  How was your week?  Hope it was as good or better than mine and that you have an equally fantastic or better weekend!

As always, linking up with the fabulous Lauren, Jennie, the Northeast Bloggers and

We Took the Road Less Traveled


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Listen and Trust

Linking up once again with Hayley and Lauren for another edition of "The Girl Between the Lines."  I especially love this weeks prompt and think it flows very nicely with what's been going on around here lately.


This weeks prompt is "Tell us about a lesson you wish you would have learned earlier in life..."

Listen and trust!  My lesson is to listen and trust!  Take the time to stop trying to talk over everyone, stop feeling like you are always right, stop dismissing what is going on around you.  Listen to your parents.  Listen to your friends.  Listen to your gut!  Trust what they're all trying to tell you!  If you actually take the time to listen and learn, your life will be so much better, so much more enjoyable, and I truly believe you'll end up where you want to be- where you belong.

If I had learned this 10+ years ago, I would be in a completely different position than I am now.  I wouldn't be at a dead end job.  I wouldn't be in a dead end marriage.  I possibly would have children.  I certainly wouldn't be as sad and close to falling a part as I am right now. 

If I had learned this 10+ years ago, I would have valued what my parents were trying to teach me. 

"Watch your money, watch your credit. 
Think about the people you surround yourself with. 
You deserve a man who treats you a certain way." 

Instead of being a stubborn teenager/early 20 something and insisting that I was right and they knew nothing, I would have been able to trust that they were looking out for my best interest, and take in their wisdom and learn from it.  Instead of thinking, "I'm 20, I don't want to buy a house til I'm 30, by then I'll have it figured out."  I would have been more stern with Jim about using my credit (yep you read that right,) I would have been saving money, thinking about my purchases and how what I do at this early stage in my life will set up so many things to come in the future. 

Instead of thinking, "his better than they think, they're too hard on him, he's so young, he'll have it figured out in a few years."  I would have stopped and looked at my relationship, realizing then what I'm realizing now because the writing has been on the walls the ENTIRE time. 

Instead of thinking, "I'm young, I can go out and party all the time, I'll figure out a job later."  I probably still would have partied because let's be honest it was college and that's one of the best parts, but I would have been more mindful of my activities and how they were affecting my school work.  I graduated from college and my professors loved me because in class I was charming, engaged, and a fairly good student.  But I did half assed assignments, usually handed them in late, and over all was not an outstanding student because I put fun before work.  If I had a better GPA I would have gotten into my Masters program, because I had the recommendations based on who I was, but I didn't have the grades to back it up.  I'd be either a high school history teacher or a museum/library archivist.  Sure I wouldn't be rolling in the dough, but I'd have a career.  I love my job because for the most part I love my coworkers but it is by no means a career, and eventually I'll have to leave and find something "better" like I've done at my other jobs but I won't find a career until I set myself on a better path instead of accepting just getting by. 

Which brings me back to.... instead of thinking, "my stomach is just upset because my parents are putting too much pressure on me."  I would have stopped and thought about why I was feeling the way I was.  Have you ever just had that awful feeling in the pit of your stomach and you just knew that it was your conscience telling you that something was wrong?  Yea, I have it ALL THE TIME!  I dismiss it a lot, because I'm afraid of change, I'm afraid of not being right, but ultimately it's probably the #1 thing you should listen to above everything else.  If you're gut is saying NO, then you need to stop,  LISTEN, and TRUST your feelings.  You always know the right thing to do, you just don't always trust yourself to do it. 

Please read this and live it.  I don't want to see any of you end up in the frustrating circles that I've landed myself into.  Listen to what is being said (or not said, in the case of your gut,) and trust that it is for your own good.

 My mom used to always tell me to shut my mouth and open my ears, oh if only I had listened!



Girl Between the Lines Link up

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Week of Pinterest Cooking

A few weeks ago I set out to cook a new Pinterest meal every night for a week straight.  To be fair, it took me more than a week because I ended up not being home every night, but I did successfully try all 5 recipes I had planned to use.  Some were better than others, but all were tasty and I'm happy to have added some of them into my regular cooking routine. 

Night 1:  Salsa Chicken Crockpot inspiration.  This has become one of my favorite meals, especially for nights when I'm away because it's so easy to make just enough for one person, or I can have leftovers for lunch.  Here's how I made it:

Ingredients:
Chicken- use as much as you need, I generally use 2-3 chicken breasts
1- can of corn
1- can of kidney beans
1- jar of salsa
1- jar of water (just fill one of the empty jars, this helps keep things moist.)

Instructions: mix together in the crockpot, cook for 6-8 hours on low.  Serve over rice (I use the boil in bag brown rice) and sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese, if desired.

Here's what it looks like before I cooked it.  I made this for Jim one night when I wasn't going to be home for dinner so I sadly didn't get a picture of it when it was ready to eat.  It's so flavorful, and the chicken is wicked moist.  It doesn't get much easier or better than this!


Night 2: Buffalo Chicken Casserole inspiration.  I used some of the left overs from night 1 to make night 2 since it's basically the same thing, just in a casserole.  Here's how I made it:

Ingredients:
Cubed, cooked chicken breasts (I cooked mine on the stove top and covered it in buffalo sauce as I cooked it)
1- can of corn
1- jar of salsa
1- bag of boil in a bag rice
Shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions: Cook the rice, then layer it in an 8x8 pan that's been sprayed with non stick spray.  Toss the chicken on top, cover in the salsa and rice.  Put as much cheese on the top as you'd like.  I love cheese but hate blue cheese, so we put a lot of cheddar and none of the dressing on top.  I think this would also be delicious with ranch dressing.  Pop it in the oven on 350 for 30 minutes and enjoy. 

Again, Jim got to enjoy this one since I was out, so I don't have an after picture, but it still looks really tasty!  Also, this was enough for him to have for dinner and for lunch, so if you're cooking for 1 or 2, this is a great sized recipe.


Night 3: Honey Balsamic Chicken Tenders inspiration. A super simple, Asian inspired meal!  Here's how I did it:
Ingredients:
2-3 chicken breasts
Balsamic Vinegar
Honey
Ginger

Instructions: slice the breasts into long strips, pour into a Ziploc bag with the vinegar.  Let sit in the fridge for at least 20 minutes so soak in the flavor.  Once the chicken has marinated for the desired time cook on the stove top with a little extra vinegar and ginger (per instructions on website.)  Once the chicken is cooked, remove from pan and add in honey to the remaining drippings.  Let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes then toss the chicken back in to coat in the sauce.  I served mine over rice (again the brown boil in a bag rice) and some carrots.  The only thing I would as is maybe more ginger, but I love the taste of ginger!  Finally a picture of a finished meal!


Night 4: Zesty Italian Chicken inspiration.  Another super easy recipe in a crock pot!  Can you tell that I love easy and my crockpot?

Ingredients:
Cubed Chicken
2- cans cream of chicken soup
8 oz softened cream cheese
1- packet of zesty Italian salad dressing
Pasta of your choice

Instructions: Combine the cream cheese and soup on the stove top, it only takes about 10 minutes.  Put the chicken in the crock pot, cover with the seasoning packet and then mix in the sauce mixture.  Cook on low for 4-5 hours, this is a good one for the weekend or when someone is home, if you let it sit on warm it will burn a little on the edges.  Serve over your cooked pasta.  Delicious!


Night 5: Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole Inspiration. I LOVE Chicken Cordon Bleu so this was a great one to try out.  Jim doesn't like Swiss so I make mine slightly different.

Ingredients:
Cubed Chicken- cooked
1/2 lb sliced ham
1/2 lb cheddar cheese slices
For the sauce:
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
3 1/4 cups Milk
1 tbsp mustard
For the "crust":
6 tbsp butter
1 1/2 bread crumbs

Instructions:  Butter the bottom of the casserole pan, layer in the chicken, then ham, then cheese.  In a sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook til it begins to bubble.  Then slowly stir in milk, until the sauce thickens, then add in mustard.  Bring the sauce to a boil and remove from heat.  Pour the sauce over the casserole. Melt the last 6 tbsp of butter and blend with bread crumbs.  Crumble that over the top to create a crust.  Bake on 350 for about 20 minutes- until the top is lightly browned. 

I served mine with potato's and carrots, and probably would try a different kind of crust because mine was just soggy, although it was still delicious!



There you have it!  5 nights, 5 Pinterest inspired meals, 5 success stories.  I'd say my favorite was the chicken cordon bleu but they were all fantastic, I can't complain about any of them. 

Have you ever done a week of Pinterest cooking?
What's your favorite recipe that you've tried from the site?






still being [molly]

Thursday, March 6, 2014

High Five for Friday (Vol. 21)


The past few weeks I've used this post to post my top 5 favorite things simply because the past few weeks have been a bit rough on me.  Today, I'd like to get back into the swing of things and start celebrating the 5 high lights of of my week.

1. This week started off with a relaxing weekend.  Planning on a massive snow storm (that ended up being a disappointment) I spent most of the weekend in bed rewatching The Office.  I will never get enough of this show!  It makes me so happy to watch it over and over, to laugh at the jokes, and fall in love with the characters all over again.  Jim and Pam are by far my favorite TV love story, with Holly and Michael coming in a fairly close 2nd. 

2.  The lounging wasn't really in preparation for the snow day.  It was in preparation for girls night in with my coworkers.  We planned on drinking and staying up late since we were either not going to have to work on Monday or we'd get to work from home, at which point we'd all work together at Amanda's dining room table, since we were snowed in.  We woke up to just a dusting on Monday here in Northern NJ, but apparently South Jersey (where most of my coworkers live) got their fair share, so Monday was still at great day because it was basically just the 4 of us in the office anyway.
3.  Tuesday night with Collin.  Seriously, my nephew is 13 months old and I get the pleasure of caring for him nearly every Tuesday night while his parents handle some business meetings.  I could not be more excited to get this time with him.  He has such a personality and is simply my favorite little person in the whole world.  I cherish these nights together and look forward to talking about them so I can embarrass him when he's old and starts bringing girl friends around (just kidding... maybe.)
4.  Pitch Perfect Trivia night!  This movie is my favorite movie right now!  I could watch it over and over and over again!  So when I found out they were having a themed trivia night at our local Houlihan's there was no question that I was in!  I literally spent all day on Wednesday "studying" while I was "working" at work, and was ready to crush the competition.  I went with Jim and his best friend Dave, who also loves the movie, and we pretty much dominated until teams in the back started  cheating on their cell phones.  *sigh* Oh well, we came in 4th and still had a wicked good time.  I'm glad I went since I've never been to a trivia night before, and I'll definitely be going back in May when the do The office (refer to #1 on today's list.)   


5. I finally completed the 5 "pinterest" meals that I set out to do last week.  It wasn't a week straight but I cooked them all, they all turned out well, and I'm starting to branch out in my cooking ideas/abilities.  Thursday nights was especially good and easy!  Hopefully, I'll get a full post up about what I tried and how it went over the weekend.

That's it for me ladies!  As always, thank you for coming to hang out for a bit, I hope you all had a fabulous week and have an even better weekend!  Until next time...

Linking up with the lovely Lauren, Jennie, the Northeast bloggers and 

We Took the Road Less Traveled

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What drives me?


This weeks Girl Between the Lines ( linking up with Haley and Lauren) questions is very interesting to me because my reasons have changed so much in not even a year and seem to continue to change everyday. 

"Why do you blog?  What does it mean to you?"

Originally my reason was just to get things off my chest.  I felt like I had a lot to say and no one to say them to.  Whenever I tell a story or talk to my friends, I get interrupted or talked over, leading to personal frustration as well as there's, since it feels like everything I say drags on and on. 

Shortly after starting my blog, I began my IVF experience and found this was a great outlet to express what I was feeling and what I was going through.  I also found that there are so many women out there who hide their infertility.  I wanted them to see that this is a normal thing to go through and that they don't have to hide.  I wanted to offer them positivity and almost a sisterhood, reminding them that they're not alone, they will get through this, and they will hold their miracle babies someday!

As we moved through the process, I started to notice more and more issues in my marriage.  Let me be clear that I have never had a perfect marriage, as there is no such thing, and I think because I was young and somewhat naive I looked over a lot of the flaws.  However, as we came closer and closer to having a child, and became less and less secure financially it became clear- Jim and I will never be on the same page.  He is lazy, nasty, and unproductive.  He cares more about hanging out with his friends and bowling, than making sure we have money for our bills.  He's never held a stable job, he thinks my parents should always bail us out of any financial trouble that we may run in to, he's verbally and emotionally abusive.  He's the exact opposite of what I actually want my husband or father of my children to be like. 

So once again, the blog changed directions.  Now I was using as a way to get out how I was feeling about him and how I wanted out.  As I grow and become stronger, I write about how I'm doing.  In some ways it's more of a journal than anything else.  I'll be the first to admit that I'm all over the place right now and so it my blog, but it's a fairly good picture of who I am.  My reason to blog now is to share my story and again let women know they're not alone, they don't have to cower and be afraid the way I have been for so many years.  We deserve better, we deserve the best, and we shouldn't settle. 

Of course, mixed in with all this very personal information I also enjoy blogging so that I can share recipes and crafts that I love.  I hope that someday I may be able to share positive relationship advice, maybe even talk about another marriage, and I certainly pray that someday I'll be able to talk about being a mom.

This blog means everything to me.  It truly is a way to get out some of my inner most thoughts, a way to express myself in a "judgement free" zone, and sometimes it helps me to just work out the issues  that have been weighing on me so that I can focus and see things clearly.  I love that I've joined this community, I hope that my little piece of the Internet will grow as I grow, that I will be able to help empower women who feel like they just can't get anywhere and let them see that they can and will have a better future.

If nothing else, I blog so that I can believe this statement and help others to believe it as well- believe in yourself, stay strong, and know your worth.  Everything else will fall into place.


Girl Between the Lines Link up

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Blogmopolitan Quiz


One of my favorite things to do is grab the newest edition of Cosmo and curl up on the couch.  I usually pig out while reading, which is a failure because then I feel guilty looking at all the gorgeous women, but that's besides the point! 



I stumbled across a new blog recently (well it's new to me) and saw that they were offering a fun little quiz series based on the quizzes Cosmo has their celebrity cover girls fill out.  I'm about a month or 2 late for getting involved, but figured it's better late than never, plus I just wanted to do something fun today after being so blah lately!  So here you have it, my first 2 Blogmopolitan Quizzes!








Bloody Marys Count as a Salad

Glossy Blonde



Monday, March 3, 2014

Girls Night In- Success!

Last night, I stayed at a coworker/friend's house.  We were expecting a massive snow storm and she lives closer to work, so it made sense to stay over in case we still had to go into work.  We made it a full on girls night in!  There were 4 of us total, Amanda (the house owner and a friend from high school, it's such a small world) made us an amazing dinner!

We started out with meatballs and crostini's for appetizers.  The recipe for the crostini's is from the show, Extra Virgin, sadly I couldn't find it on their website.  But it was prosciutto and mozzarella melted on crostini's then drizzled in a brown butter and sage sauce, my mouth is still watering just thinking about it.  Then we had a gluten free lasagna, and we finished up with nutella creme brulee... drool!!!  It was all amaze-balls!  She is an amazing cook and I learn so much from her. 

Once we had food in our bellies it was time to get our drink on!  We had this delicious cocktail, which I'll call the Italian cookie, I've posted the recipe at the end of this post, try it, you'll love it!  She also introduced us to the "Dr. Pepper," which is literally just Coke and a shot or 2 of Amaretto.  Plus we had Pumpkin Martinis- equal parts vodka and pumpkin liquor, you can't go wrong!

With cocktails flowing we were ready for some full on girl time!  We played the Sex and the City Board Game and enjoyed a few hours of girl talk, which included bitching about our significant others/husbands, work, and life in general.  We then moved on to karaoke, did you know that there are karaoke stations through on demand with optimum?  If you didn't and you love karaoke, check it out!  After Amanda's boyfriend came home, we pulled out the rock band and jammed with that for a while and eventually Shannon's husband showed up to bring her home but he stayed and we all chatted for another hour or so.  When it was all said and done, it was just after midnight, A3 (the third Amanda in our office, hence her nickname) and Shannon went home, and I had a good buzz going, so I crashed in the spare bedroom.

(a collage I stole from Shannon's instragram,
if you're interest, you can find more pics on my instagram feed.)

It was a hugely successful night!  These 3 women have become some of my closest confidants (besides my best friend) over the last couple of months, I feel like I can tell them anything and they'll give me their honest opinion.  I'm so lucky to be working with them and be able to call them my friends.  It's been a long time since I had a girls night, I didn't realize how much I needed that.  A chance to kick back, relax, eat and drink to my hearts content can do wonders for the soul.  I feel much more at peace now about my decision to leave Jim and while I'm sad that I'll be moving away from them, I know that I'll always be able to come back to NJ and hang out, and they better get their butts down to PA for trips into Philly.

Italian Cookie Cocktail:

Ingredients:
1 bottle Amaretto
1 large can of pineapple juice
1 cup vodka
nutmeg and cinnamon to taste

Instructions:
Pour it all into a pitcher with ice, stir, and pour.  It's that simple!!!




Have you had a girls night in recently?  What's your favorite thing to do with your besties?

still being [molly]

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Photo Challenge and March Goals

It's March!  Do you know what that means?  That means someday soon the snow will melt and the flowers will bloom... soon everything will be green in honor of St. Patrick's Day... and it's really time to get my butt in gear and stop dragging along through this year!

First of all, I'll be taking part in the Northeast Bloggers photo challenge on Instagram!  Please feel free to follow me and also take part in the challenge.  I've claimed that I will be things like this in the past and didn't follow through so I'm holding myself accountable by putting it here for all the world to see.


Second, it's time to get some things straightened out in my personal life.  I've alluded to the troubles in my marriage and almost living Jim over the past few months.  To be completely honest and open with you all, I've been having a dream since before a turned 30.  In the dream, he and I are fighting and I scream at him- "I started my 20's with you, I'll be damned if I start my 30's with you."  It's time to do what my subconscious, my family, and many of my friends have been telling me to do.  It's time to leave.  I'll never get what I want from him- security, affection, respect, a family, etc... Instead of wasting more empty and pointless years it's time to get out and see what happens.

I'd be lying if I didn't say that I'm terrified, what if I end up alone, what if I'm making a mistake?  Honestly, it's better to be alone than in bad or wrong company.  It's not a mistake if it's eating away at me, if it makes me sick to be around him.  It's not a mistake to break away from someone who never builds me up and always puts me down.  It's simply not a mistake. 

I'm taking a huge step by putting this here.  This makes it permanent.  I can't go back now.  Just like the photo challenge (which I do realize this is infinitely bigger than the challenge) I have to follow through with this.

I'll be honest, I haven't told Jim yet.  However, I have made some plans with my parents and will be working out more the details over the next week or so.  I plan to share some although maybe not everything here.  The point of this blog is to share my story, so that's what I'll do.  Ultimately, I want to build myself up, find my voice again, and help others who have been emotionally and verbally abused do the same. 

There you have it!  My goals for March- finish a photo challenge and leave my husband!  Pretty darn unbalanced goals if I do say so myself, but I guess it's nice to have something fun to do while undoing the last 11 years of my life.

I feel like all the blogs out there are from happy wives and mothers- are any of you divorced?  Have any of you been in a similar situation?

Suggestions, recommendations, and advice will be HUGELY appreciated!


(All weekend posts are shared with...)


Weekend Block Party Blog Linkup